"That is our last time we will play at Grant Complex in 2017 and excited to get a couple of wins."
The McPherson junior America Legion baseball team finished regular season play Thursday as they swept Augusta 5-1 and 13-3. These were also the final homes games of the year as they move on to postseason play next week.
McPherson spotted Augusta an opening inning run in game one before tying things up in the third. A three-run fourth inning would give Mac the lead for good as they cruised to a four-run victory, scoring a final run in the bottom of the sixth.
Gabe Hoover got the start on the hill for McPherson and picked up the win, going four innings, giving up two hits, one run, five walks and striking out seven. To his credit he did not let a fluctuating strike zone effect him, throwing 46 strikes in 84 pitches. Brayden Stout came on in relief, pitching a no-hitter in the final three innings, walking two and striking out two.
Chandler Wiard and Hoover were each 2 for 2 with Hoover scoring two runs and Wiard picking up three RBIs. Will Powers was a perfect 1 for 1 and Honestee Whittker and Devin Feil were each 1 for 3.
"I am really impressed with Gabe Hoover and Chandler Wiard at the plate," said McPherson coach Heath Gerstner. "Both tattooed a few balls tonight and then are running the bases hard and aggressive. We will be counting on both of those guys a lot next spring and excited about their progress."
Wiard pick up where he left off as he went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and three RBIs in game two. Devin Feil was also 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Hoover was 1 for 2 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Powers and Jakob Feil each picked up a hit apiece to help in the 10-run, four-inning win.
Jakob Feil got the start and the win on the hill, giving up three runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in two innings of work. Wiard worked the final two innings giving up a hit, a walk and struck out four.
"Always excited about a sweep and Augusta is always a solid ball club," Gerstner said. "That is our last time we will play at Grant Complex in 2017 and excited to get a couple of wins over a league school. They were missing some guys due to football and we had our entire junior legion squad for the first time all summer and I believe it showed. We pride ourselves on pitching and defense and no doubt Gabe Hoover, Brayden Stout, Jakob Feil and Chandler Wiard were ready to go tonight. Every time we go out I want our guys to build confidence at the plate and also on the mound. I thought all our pitchers did a great job pounding the zone tonight and working their off-speed stuff. We will need to be more competitive with our at bats to have a chance to win a zone tournament."
Next up for the Post 24 juniors is the Zone tournament in Buhler. The tournament gets underway Tuesday but, as the No. 1 seed McPherson has a bye. The will play the winner of No. 4 Russell and No. 5 Hays at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Those two teams open the tournament at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Also competing will be No. 3 Pratt taking on No. 6 Buhler at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and No. 2 Great Bend against No. 7 Cunningham at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The championship game is set for 5 p.m. Friday, followed by a 7:15 p.m. game if necessary. Winner of the Zone tournament will move on to the State tournament in Hays that begins on July 19.
Contact Matt Cole by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel.